By Emma Nnadozie,
A retired Commissioner of Police, Frank Odita and Chief Executive Officer of Frankcom Securities, in this interview, bares his mind on how to achieve synergy among security forces in the country.
What is responsible for the perennial clashes between the Police and Army?
I am talking as a security expert, not as a police officer. It simply shows a lack of synergy and esprit de corps between security services in Nigeria. One cannot hide the fact that the Nigeria Police Force is the only organisation that is solely charged with internal security operations in Nigeria. Any other force that is doing what policemen are doing is merely performing the functions of the police. Every security agency wants to show that it is doing better than the others Nigeria.
Case of conspiracy
Without prejudice to what the investigation might produce, what happened in Taraba was a collaboration with criminals to make nonsense of the activities of the Police Force in the state. The evidence that came to us clearly states that the policemen came all the way from Abuja. They reported to the headquarters at Abuja, they also reported at the Command Headquarters, before proceeding to arrest the criminal whom they arrested. If the story of the police was true as it was said, I want to say that an unnecessary and avoidable murder was committed, and I do not see why our men, should be collaborating with criminals, and make nonsense of the police force.
The Inspector-General of Police, IGP, and heads of other agencies are expected to work in collaboration. For example, the Directorate of State Services, DSS, is supposed to be working in collaboration with the police. Their job is to get security information and feed the police with such information, but what we see now is that the DSS is carrying out arrests and making themselves seen and heard. They are like the CIA in America. You don’t hear that the CIA arrests someone and takes the person to court. They carry out their investigation and pass to the police who make the arrest and send suspects to court.
Sadly in Nigeria, the Army arrests people, when the constitution clearly declared that anyone, who arrests a suspect is a private person, and such private person must hand over the suspect to the police. When other people do what the police are supposed to do, they are carrying out a function outside their domain, and because nobody is saying anything about it, people have accepted as a norm. For instance, immigration has its laws. The same thing applies to customs. If the customs arrests a suspect outside its jurisdiction, the suspect must be handed over to the police. Everybody, including citizens who see a criminal, has a right to arrest a criminal, but the law expects you to hand over such person to a police officer. Why would somebody stop police officers from doing their jobs?
Soldiers on the highways
I do not have a problem with them being on the highway, but we should stop stationing them alone on the highway. There should be a joint operation between them and the police, because, the road is the area of operation of the police. Every road is within the division of the Nigerian police. There is a Divisional Police Officer in charge of that division. I do not subscribe to the idea of having soldiers who are performing internal security duties not accompanied by the police. If the police require superior firepower, soldiers can come in, but if you leave soldiers alone at the roadblocks, they can do what they like because soldiers are trained to fight wars.